VFuel, like other energy gels, starts with maltodextrin as the primary carbohydrate. But from there, we take a very different path. Most other gels use Fructose, or some sort of rice syrup or evaporated cane juice, all containing Fructose.
VFuel uses Dextrose as its secondary carb, a more expensive (on our end) option, but one that is drastically easier to digest. A very high percentage of complaints we hear about gels in general are in regards to digestibility issues. We hear people say that gels make them nauseated, gets them bloated, ‘backs them up,’ or even causes diarrhea. These issues are a direct result from the simple sugar that is used in most energy gels, Fructose. All sugars, except for dextrose, take specialized enzymes to break down. The only sugar your body can use for energy without having to process is glucose (dextrose).
Fructose, as used in most other gels, requires processing by ones liver resulting in a restoration of liver glycogen rather than a direct restoration of muscle glycogen, as dextrose provides. The added level of attention that fructose requires to be turned into sugars that your body can actually use takes time and limited resources (enzymes) away from your system. For many people, especially during endurance activities (training or racing), the amount of enzymes their liver can make are far fewer than the amount of fructose they are pumping into their body in the form of energy gels. This is when things start to go wrong. Ones body handles this differently depending on a lot of other factors but this is what leads to the nausea, bloating, etc… Your body is simply not equipped to handle that much fructose especially when trying to perform athletically.
It’s just a bad mix that leads to much unwanted, and unnecessary, GI distress. We were actually shocked when we figured out how easy this fix was. Take out the fructose, use dextrose instead, and there you have it. A gel that causes no digestion issues! VFuel has even allowed people with Crohns Disease to be able to train for ultra distances again as their systems can handle the digestion process with no issues whatsoever.